Friday, July 29, 2011

A Year Ago Yesterday

The beautiful little church of Monteriggioni, just across the piazza from our lunching place, but seen here from the city walls.

Towers of San Gimignano.

A view of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo, probably taken before supper.

A year ago today I had lunch in Monteriggioni, ice cream in San Gimignano, supper in Florence on the Piazzale Michelangelo, and dessert in the home of friends in Scandicci, sort of a suburb of Florence. The neighborhood was once my neighborhood, called Le Bagnese. (Alas, I didn't take any pictures that evening.)

The famous places were wonderful, but according to my journal, which agrees with my memory, “The highlight of today for me was taking the Bateys [my beloved friends and travel companions] to Le Bagnese and to Paolo and Tosca’s [more beloved friends] house for a lovely visit, lots of laughter, little desserts, spumante (Moscato), and the full moon rising over the hill. It was a perfect evening, except too short.”

Today, sitting in my office, that day and those places and people seem far, far away. Sometimes I have a hard time believing that the various parts of my life do actually all belong to the same life—if that makes any sense.

And yet I know they do, and there are echoes all around even today of those other lives.

Earlier today I shared with a mentor how I loved my life in Italy, what a special time of life that was, and how it led to unexpected events that have shaped my life ever since.

This afternoon I made a date to visit a new friend in my new neighborhood—a 100-year-old woman who is an artist and who also loves Florence and actually has some of her photographs of Florence being shown right now. So I’ll be going to her house Saturday to see her pictures of Florence and to share stories.

Our dogs are named after Tosca and Paolo, a daily connection to those precious friends. Tosca became my friend via an English class I taught way back in that other life, back when I was pretty fresh out of college with an English degree.

And today I came closer to that English degree than I’ve been in twenty years, by signing up for a creative nonfiction writers workshop coming up in the fall. Which is exciting, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And scary, because I’ve done so little writing in recent years, and I wonder what I’ve got in me and if it’ll hold up in the presence of more experienced writers.

Shortly after signing up for that, I received a message from a friend who was part of a spiritual direction group with me for two years. We had not communicated in months, perhaps in over a year. He mentioned among other things being blessed by Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” which I had shared with the group. And while the music has no direct connection to Italy, in my mind anything written in Latin connects me to the Italian language and thus to Italy.

Reasons abound for my absence on this blog for so long. Without going into unnecessary detail, it’s enough to say that the past year and more has been a time of disconnection, of floundering in some ways, of deepening in others, of wondering and waiting, of being stretched and strained and stressed and strengthened, of trying to find some narrative for life that was cohesive enough to hold it all together.

Today feels like a coming together of several pieces of a jigsaw puzzle life. As if just maybe it could result in some kind of picture that will make sense of all the pieces. Or a story that actually ties together all the loose ends with a coherent plot and theme.

Time alone will tell.

Meanwhile, it’s fun to look at my pictures from last year’s trip!

(And something with the computer or Internet wasn't cooperating last night, thus the discrepancy between title and text. I'm posting a day late.)


Like a Child said...

Beautiful! I've never been to italy, but these photos remind me of the cities I visited in Southern France. thank you for sharing, and I do hope things get better for you!

Lucy said...

Perhaps that sense of dislocation and wondering if it was quite real is one of the consequences of a rich and varied life. And you seem to be deepening and enriching it all the time. That's fantastic about the writing workshop, I don't think you need to worry at all about being with more experienced writers.

I now find I've so much I want to say to you that I think I must e-mai!

This is a lovely post, and the church is so beautiful.